Understanding Appraisals

Purchasing real estate is the biggest investment many will ever consider. It doesn't matter if a main residence, a second vacation property or one of many rentals, purchasing real property is a complex transaction that requires multiple people working in concert to make it all happen.

Most of the participants are very familiar. The most known face in the exchange is the real estate agent. Then, the bank provides the money necessary to finance the exchange. And ensuring all requirements of the transaction are completed and that a clear title transfers from the seller to the buyer is the title company.

To learn more about appraising, click here to see a short video or call us today to talk about your specific property.

So, what party makes sure the value of the real estate is in line with the purchase price? This is where you meet the appraiser. We provide an unbiased estimate of what a buyer could expect to pay — or a seller receive — for a parcel of real estate, where both buyer and seller are informed parties. A licensed, certified, professional appraiser from Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C. will ensure, you as an interested party, are informed.

Appraisals begin with the property inspection

Our first duty at Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C. is to inspect the property to determine its true status. We must physically see aspects of the property, such as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the location, and so on, to ensure they truly exist and are in the shape a reasonable person would expect them to be. The inspection often includes a sketch of the floorplan, ensuring the square footage is correct and illustrating the layout of the property. Most importantly, the appraiser identifies any obvious features - or defects - that would affect the value of the property.

Back at the office, an appraiser uses two or three approaches to determining the value of the property: paired sales analysis and, in the case of a rental property, an income approach.

Cost Approach

Here, we analyze information on local building costs, labor rates and other factors to ascertain how much it would cost to construct a property comparable to the one being appraised. This value commonly sets the maximum on what a property would sell for. It's also the least used predictor of value.

Analyzing Comparable Sales

Appraisers get to know the neighborhoods in which they appraise. They innately understand the value of specific features to the people of that area. Then, the appraiser researches recent sales in the neighborhood and finds properties which are 'comparable' to the real estate in question. By assigning a dollar value to certain items such as remodeled rooms, types of flooring, energy efficient items, patios and porches, or additional storage space, we adjust the comparable properties so that they are more accurately in line with the features of subject property.

  • Say, for example, the comparable property has a fireplace and the subject doesn't, the appraiser may deduct the value of a fireplace from the sales price of the comparable home.
  • However, in the case where the subject has something such as an extra half bath that a comparable doesn't have, the appraiser might add the value of that bath to the comparable property.

An opinion of what the subject might sell for can only be determined once all differences between the comps and the subject have been evaluated. At Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C., we are an authority when it comes to knowing the worth of real estate features in Staunton and Staunton City County neighborhoods. This approach to value is commonly given the most weight when an appraisal is for a real estate sale.

Valuation Using the Income Approach

In the case of income producing properties - rental houses for example - we may use an additional method of valuing a property. In this situation, the amount of income the real estate generates is taken into consideration along with income produced by similar properties to give an indicator of the current value.

Coming Up With The Final Value

Combining information from all approaches, the appraiser is then ready to stipulate an estimated market value for the property in question. It is important to note that while the appraised value is probably the most reliable indication of what a property is worth, it probably will not be the price at which the property closes. Prices can always be driven up or down by extenuating circumstances like the motivation or urgency of a seller or 'bidding wars'. But the appraised value is often employed as a guideline for lenders who don't want to loan a buyer more money than they could get back in case they had to put the property on the market again. Here's what it all boils down to, an appraiser from Blue Ridge Appraisal Co., L.L.C. will guarantee you attain the most accurate property value, so you can make profitable real estate decisions.

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